Monday, January 25, 2010

Follow Instructions vs. discovery

What rubric did Frederick Banting follow when he discovered insulin?

What blueprints did Larry Page and Sergey Brin read when constructing Google?

What mandate did Gutenberg adhere to when he invented the printing press?

Now, I'll grant you that each of these people received some kind of guidance and mentoring by others. Each of their inventions were influenced in some way by some other product or idea. However, each of their ideas were in some way unique and creative. They each had to divert from the status quo.

Also remember that often really cool things, like bubble wrap, were invented unintentionally.

We do a disservice to our students when we make science more about following instructions and formal write-ups than about playing and discovery.

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